Users report some original HomePods 'bricking' with software version 14.6 update

Posted:
in General Discussion
The release version 14.6 of HomePod's operating system is reportedly "bricking" some devices in certain configurations -- especially when paired with an Apple TV.

HomePods are reportedly failing after the 14.6 software update
HomePods are reportedly failing after the 14.6 software update


The user reports follow similar issues being caused by the beta version 15.0 software. Only the original large HomePod is being affected, and usually when connected as an Apple TV stereo pair.

One Reddit user has more than 19 HomePods in their home, and seven of them have been bricked. The user says three are on the release version, and four are beta, but they all failed.

One 9to5Mac reader shared that their oldest speaker in a stereo pair failed after updating to 14.6. The HomePod was connected in stereo with another to an Apple TV for audio.

Another Reddit post said they experienced the same problem as the 9to5Mac reader. One of the speakers in the pair suddenly stopped working after updating to 14.6.

While these are only a few reports, there is a pattern falling out. Stereo pair HomePods, especially ones connected to the Apple TV, have at least one of the speakers brick after the update.

AppleInsider staff all report normal operations of their HomePods in various configurations. We haven't seen any problems with the HomePods themselves or bricking, though some report issues with tvOS 14.6 related to AirPlay.

The issue doesn't appear to be widespread and could be affecting older models in particular. AppleInsider will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as soon as any new information is discovered.

Keep up with everything Apple in the weekly AppleInsider Podcast -- and get a fast news update from AppleInsider Daily. Just say, "Hey, Siri," to your HomePod mini and ask for these podcasts, and our latest HomeKit Insider episode too.If you want an ad-free main AppleInsider Podcast experience, you can support the AppleInsider podcast by subscribing for $5 per month through Apple's Podcasts app, or via Patreon if you prefer any other podcast player.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    HomePod purchased last year is now bricked iOS 15 beta, paired w/ AppleTV.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 399member
    HomePod is the most vexing product I've ever obtained from Apple. Almost nothing about it works well. I've got 10 HomePods and 5 Minis and there isn't a day in which I don't encounter an error of some kind. Setting timers is a crap shoot because the alarm often goes off on a HomePod that's all the way across the house from the one I set it on. Apple TV pairing often fails, leaving me with no ability to control the audio volume. The only solution is factory reset.

    Integration with HomeKit is a mess, with Siri saying she can't do things that I'm easily able to do via buttons on the HomeKit App. Siri often contradicts herself by executing commands while simultaneously saying she can't.

    A recent update seems to have improved the widely reported problem of HomePods ignoring Siri volume change requests, but that's still not working 100%.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    HomePod purchased last year is now bricked iOS 15 beta, paired w/ AppleTV.
    Well, you should know the routine by now. Install beta software at your peril. FWIW, 14.6 was installed automatically on my HomePod Mini and it seems to be working fine. The apparent problem seems to be with HomePods.

  • Reply 4 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    bsimpsen said:
    HomePod is the most vexing product I've ever obtained from Apple. Almost nothing about it works well. I've got 10 HomePods and 5 Minis and there isn't a day in which I don't encounter an error of some kind. Setting timers is a crap shoot because the alarm often goes off on a HomePod that's all the way across the house from the one I set it on. Apple TV pairing often fails, leaving me with no ability to control the audio volume. The only solution is factory reset.

    Integration with HomeKit is a mess, with Siri saying she can't do things that I'm easily able to do via buttons on the HomeKit App. Siri often contradicts herself by executing commands while simultaneously saying she can't.

    A recent update seems to have improved the widely reported problem of HomePods ignoring Siri volume change requests, but that's still not working 100%.
    Not to put too much of a fine point on it but 15 HomePods on the same network seems to invite interaction problems. I would guess little testing was done on such a scenario because it’s so out-in-left-field to have that many devices on the same network. I am having no such problems on my small setup.
    edited July 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 32
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member
    First, this is the reason I do not enable automatic updates. Generally Apple does a good job of getting it right but they too fall down and miss things especially as the complexity grows. I generally wait to see what happens to those who can not help themselves and updated immediately and find all the problems for the rest of us. 

    Next for those of you who have more than a few homepod, I'm not sure why you may need so many unless you home is that big. I got 3 and think that may be over kill, having two one on first floor and other on the second is enough to fill the house with music. Grant it I have two surround sound setup for watching movies and found they too were over kill when playing background music in the house. Having Siri on the watch and phone is enough to do most everything without the need for homepod in each room.
    muthuk_vanalingamStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 32
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,098member
    When was OS version 14.6 issued for HomePods? Is it new today?
    edited July 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 32
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 838member
    HomePod are perfect partner playing dolby atmos songs and movies, so don’t mess w mine….Apple
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    AppleZulu said:
    When was OS version 14.6 issued for HomePods? Is it new today?
    I noticed it on my HomePod Mini a few days ago. Autoupdated.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 32
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,098member
    lkrupp said:
    AppleZulu said:
    When was OS version 14.6 issued for HomePods? Is it new today?
    I noticed it on my HomePod Mini a few days ago. Autoupdated.
    All of mine are at 14.6 and are functional. I have autoupdate set to off, yet I have noticed previously that some or all do it anyway, which is unsettling. I prefer to watch for issues before choosing to proceed with updates. This is why I'm trying to confirm when 14.6 actually came out.

    Correction: Automatic updates for HomePods was set to "off" in the Home app on my iPhone, but was still set to "on" in the Home app on my Mac. I've changed that there now. This shouldn't be. Those settings should synchronize regardless of which device I use to change them.
    edited July 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    Spoke to phone support last week after automatic update bricked HomePod, said there was nothing they can do because it is out of warranty. Have a call scheduled with them for 9:00am tomorrow
    mistergsfScot1GeorgeBMaczroger73watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    thrangthrang Posts: 1,024member
    Spoke to phone support last week after automatic update bricked HomePod, said there was nothing they can do because it is out of warranty. Have a call scheduled with them for 9:00am tomorrow
    They had you try a hard reset I presume?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 32
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,098member
    bsimpsen said:
    HomePod is the most vexing product I've ever obtained from Apple. Almost nothing about it works well. I've got 10 HomePods and 5 Minis and there isn't a day in which I don't encounter an error of some kind. Setting timers is a crap shoot because the alarm often goes off on a HomePod that's all the way across the house from the one I set it on. Apple TV pairing often fails, leaving me with no ability to control the audio volume. The only solution is factory reset.

    Integration with HomeKit is a mess, with Siri saying she can't do things that I'm easily able to do via buttons on the HomeKit App. Siri often contradicts herself by executing commands while simultaneously saying she can't.

    A recent update seems to have improved the widely reported problem of HomePods ignoring Siri volume change requests, but that's still not working 100%.
    Your problem (or a significant part of it) may be with your WiFi network. I don't have anywhere close to that number of HomePods, but I do have a number of HomeKit switches and other devices. One could only imagine if you have 15 HomePods, you may have a lot of other things connected to your network as well. There is a limit to the number of devices a router can handle.

    Certainly in my case my AirPort routers just weren't able to handle the number of devices I have and keep the network up and stable. The instability problems included some issues with HomePods not functioning as expected. I finally gave up and got a set of Eero Pro mesh routers and the problems went away. Of course, 15 HomePods on the same network is also certain to be an outlier use case, so there may be other issues.
    edited July 2021 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 32
    mistergsfmistergsf Posts: 244member
    Spoke to phone support last week after automatic update bricked HomePod, said there was nothing they can do because it is out of warranty. Have a call scheduled with them for 9:00am tomorrow
    I had my first and oldest HomePod die on me a couple of weeks ago and it had just been updated to 14.6.  It was part of a stereo pair and used with my bedroom AppleTV. I don't have auto update turned on and I usually wait a week or so before updating cause I like to make sure that I don't install anything that will brick my device.

    Anyway, it would not power on and it was already out of AppleCare warranty. To make matters worse, it would cost me another $279 to have it replaced. I bit the bullet and paid for a replacement; I like my HomePods and I was willing to do it.

    If in fact the failure of my HomePod had something to do with the update, Apple should take some responsibility and refund the cost of replacement or work something out with me. I don't think it will happen though. Side note, this HomePod had already been replaced twice under AppleCare for previous failures.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,389member
    AppleZulu said:
    bsimpsen said:
    HomePod is the most vexing product I've ever obtained from Apple. Almost nothing about it works well. I've got 10 HomePods and 5 Minis and there isn't a day in which I don't encounter an error of some kind. Setting timers is a crap shoot because the alarm often goes off on a HomePod that's all the way across the house from the one I set it on. Apple TV pairing often fails, leaving me with no ability to control the audio volume. The only solution is factory reset.

    Integration with HomeKit is a mess, with Siri saying she can't do things that I'm easily able to do via buttons on the HomeKit App. Siri often contradicts herself by executing commands while simultaneously saying she can't.

    A recent update seems to have improved the widely reported problem of HomePods ignoring Siri volume change requests, but that's still not working 100%.
    Your problem (or a significant part of it) may be with your WiFi network. I don't have anywhere close to that number of HomePods, but I do have a number of HomeKit switches and other devices. One could only imagine if you have 15 HomePods, you may have a lot of other things connected to your network as well. There is a limit to the number of devices a router can handle.

    Certainly in my case my AirPort routers just weren't able to handle the number of devices I have and keep the network up and stable. The instability problems included some issues with HomePods not functioning as expected. I finally gave up and got a set of Eero Pro mesh routers and the problems went away. Of course, 15 HomePods on the same network is also certain to be an outlier use case, so there may be other issues.
    Currently running 9 smart speakers including Sonos-branded, 4 smart displays, a pair of thermostats, a security system that includes connected-sensors in the out-buildings as well as the main house, 5 exterior smart cameras, four smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, several connected lights throughout the home, two smart tv's, two cast devices, plus the typical computers, NAS, Chromebooks and smartphones.  I'm not experiencing any connectivity or performance issues on a mediocre 150GB FiOS internet service over a mesh 4 router setup covering the entire property. I wouldn't think 15 Homepods would stress the system so much as to be unreliable.

    I saw reports of overheating issues on numerous HomePods running the 15 beta OS a few days ago and now this today on the stable one so I think it's simply a very problematic update series that everyone would be wise to avoid until the fixes are in. Replacing a mini is no big deal, Apple should have plenty of 'em to replace the ones they break, but what to do about the now-discontinued HomePod if their software bricks it?

    It's always dicey running betas, and doing so on somewhat expensive non-replaceable devices is more risk than I'd accept. In this case tho I might have fallen victim too if having HomePods since even the stable release is causing some number of failures. That's not something I would have expected. 
    edited July 2021
  • Reply 15 of 32
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 399member
    lkrupp said:
    bsimpsen said:
    HomePod is the most vexing product I've ever obtained from Apple. Almost nothing about it works well. I've got 10 HomePods and 5 Minis and there isn't a day in which I don't encounter an error of some kind. Setting timers is a crap shoot because the alarm often goes off on a HomePod that's all the way across the house from the one I set it on. Apple TV pairing often fails, leaving me with no ability to control the audio volume. The only solution is factory reset.

    Integration with HomeKit is a mess, with Siri saying she can't do things that I'm easily able to do via buttons on the HomeKit App. Siri often contradicts herself by executing commands while simultaneously saying she can't.

    A recent update seems to have improved the widely reported problem of HomePods ignoring Siri volume change requests, but that's still not working 100%.
    Not to put too much of a fine point on it but 15 HomePods on the same network seems to invite interaction problems. I would guess little testing was done on such a scenario because it’s so out-in-left-field to have that many devices on the same network. I am having no such problems on my small setup.
    My son has around 40 Amazon Echo Spot devices and a half dozen third party Alexa devices, all working flawlessly, and at a total system cost far less than mine. His business partner has a similarly large installation, also working flawlessly. Amazon seems able to handle the entire ball field while Apple struggles to cover first base. At this time, I would not recommend anyone go HomePod/HomeKit.

    All three homes have wi-fi provided by three eero Pro 6 routers.

    ETA: My son's IOT network consists primarily of direct WiFi devices, all his computers and Fire TV sticks are on WiFi. My home's IOT is mostly Lutron Caseta/Hue, operating over bridges. All of our AppleTVs and computers are on Ethernet. My total WiFi traffic load, both in terms of devices and aggregate bandwidth, is a fraction of my son's. Any argument that my installation is somehow beyond Apple's comprehension seems to admit that Amazon's comprehension is superior to Apple's.
    edited July 2021
  • Reply 16 of 32
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 399member
    AppleZulu said:
    lkrupp said:
    AppleZulu said:
    When was OS version 14.6 issued for HomePods? Is it new today?
    I noticed it on my HomePod Mini a few days ago. Autoupdated.
    All of mine are at 14.6 and are functional. I have autoupdate set to off, yet I have noticed previously that some or all do it anyway, which is unsettling. I prefer to watch for issues before choosing to proceed with updates. This is why I'm trying to confirm when 14.6 actually came out.

    Correction: Automatic updates for HomePods was set to "off" in the Home app on my iPhone, but was still set to "on" in the Home app on my Mac. I've changed that there now. This shouldn't be. Those settings should synchronize regardless of which device I use to change them.
    HomeKit synchronization is a mess. Like you, I get different views of my HomePod/HomeKit system depending on which device I use to view. I can open my iPhone and start/stop playback on a HomePod my iPad says is "Not Responding".
    zroger73
  • Reply 17 of 32
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,015member
    I just checked my 2 HomePod OG and my mini and my Apple TV HD.   All at 14.6 and all seem functional. 

    For those who get a bricked device through an auto update from Apple (in the US). I’d read up on then UCC (universal commercial code) and see if you can’t find something to action in small claims court.  Their update, which they make automatic by default, damaged your property.  I am not a lawyer and I have not looked at the UCC recently, but have used the UCC as a basis for small claims against large tech companies in the past (and had them just settle). Most states base their state commercial codes on the UCC. 
    muthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMacAlex_Vzroger73
  • Reply 18 of 32
    I had some similar problems while updating. Solved by unplugging, waiting a bit and replugging. And then restarting my AppleTV. 
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 32
    stuartfstuartf Posts: 64member
    If you are in the EU or UK and experience this issue please remember that Apple has to repair, replace or refund faulty devices that have not been modified or physically damaged for up to 6 years. Irrespective of any other warranty or extended warranty offered

    You may be out of luck if you are running a beta but for anyone else these laws apply. The HomePod and recent M1 Macs have zero user serviceable and upgradable parts. They fall under Consumer Rights Laws and Apple would not be able to dispute this.

    Just mention Consumer Rights Directive (EU), Consumer Rights Act (UK) to the Apple Rep. 


    GeorgeBMacAlex_V
  • Reply 20 of 32
    Just been to the Apple store (UK), offered out of warranty repair at £250.00. Spoke with the girl about it appearing a for other users, advised me to hold on to HomePods and watch for recall, would keep my case open to flag situation 
    watto_cobra
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